Background: As the majority of severe pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are received and managed in the emergency department (ED), the ED trauma center is vital to optimizing management. This study aimed to evaluate current management guidelines, and to recognize other high-risk components of TBI management.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted solely at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon, Canada. Data pertaining to severe pediatric brain injury in emergency department included transport to trauma center, injury severity, indicators for raised intracranial pressure, airway and breathing, circulation, disability/central nervous system, complications, and outcome scores.
Results: A total of 56 charts were included in the study population. Mean age of patient population was 14.3 years of age, with 76% being male. Thirty four percent of patients received a blood gas within 15 minutes of admission, and 20% received intervention to correct PCO2. Of the seven patients who received hyperosmolar therapy, three were based on computed tomography (CT) findings and four were based clinically. For 95% of patients, the position of the bed was not documented, and just 4% of patients had head of bed elevated to 30 degrees. Sixty four percent of patients were accompanied by a physician with airway expertise during CT.
Conclusion: Building on current TBI guidelines, timeliness of PCO2 retrieval and improvements for targeted hyperosmolar therapy were noted. Two other potential areas for improving management included deliberate considerations for head of bed positioning and personnel accompanying patients undergoing CT.
Keywords: Brain injuries; Children; Traumatic; Quality improvement